Course Planning


By course planning, we are referring to the things you must do to prepare for and facilitate an upcoming course. See our suggested timeline below. If you are seeking information related to the design process of a new course in terms of content and structure, we would encourage you to explore our instructional design and instructional delivery format resources for further reference. 


Several Months Prior to Your Course 
Though you're likely busy thinking about midterms and exams for the term you're teaching in, it's important to start thinking about upcoming courses in advance. You may want to spend time in advance: 

Several Weeks Prior to Your Course 

While learners are purchasing books and reviewing class schedules, you will be quickly wrapping up your course preparations. This involves tasks such as: 

During Your Course 

Your course will need to be maintained throughout the duration of the semester. Though this may include different aspects or approaches when teaching in different formats, locations, or modalities, you'll spend time in most courses:  

  • Ensuring that you have regular learner-educator, learner-learner, and learner-content interactions. 
  • Promptly grading and providing feedback (via grade center or box view) on learner work to foster future success.   
  • Monitoring learner attendance, participation, and performance, communicating to learners as appropriate on related trends. The Performance Dashboard in Blackboard may be helpful to track interaction with online content and activities. 
  • Submitting significant concerns about a learner's health, well-being, safety and/or academic success to the CARE Team
  • Requesting a CETL course observation or learner survey to gain in progress feedback on your course design and teaching methodology.  

At the End of Your Course 

Again, these are tasks that will likely need to be completed at the end of a course or after a course closes, regardless of modality: 

  • Grading and submitting grades to the Registrar before the due date. 
  • Downloading the Blackboard grade center, or otherwise archiving grade records for yourself. You may also want to export/archive course content from Blackboard because content is purged after a year- and-one-semester passes.  
  • Encouraging learners to complete the Student Option Survey (Mt. Pleasant Location) or  End-of-Course Survey (Online & Satellite Locations) to find areas that could be improved and/or repeated in future iterations of the course. 
  • Documenting changes that may need to be made to improve the course for a future semester, or anything that worked exceptionally well. 
  • Requesting a consultation if you'd like to discuss methods for enhancement and continued success in your teaching.   


  • To see what events we may be offering related to course preparation, check out our CETL Events Page
  • Schedule a time with CETL staff to discuss your framework for teaching and related methods. 


Course planning timelines tend to be more anecdotal rather than research-oriented, based on the typical calendars, policies, procedures, and expectations of the institution. Thus, we do not have a list of related academic references here for your review and instead offer resources from CETL and OIT geared toward teaching at CMU: 

  • Campus Resources | New Faculty Orientation – Information and policies for Mt. Pleasant campus educators. 
  • Faculty Resource Center – Information and policies for online and satellite campus educators. 
  • Instructional Technologies – These are resources and tutorials related to CMU enterprise software and devices, like Blackboard, WebEx, Respondus, and more. 
  • CETL Events – Professional development opportunities, both self-paced and live, on a variety of teaching-related issues and topics. 
  • Delivery Formats -  These are resources related to instruction in specific formats, such as face-to-face, online, and hybrid instruction.